Wednesday, July 4, 2012


So, I've been thinking the past couple days, planning to write today a post about "What I Like Most About America Now That I've Been to Panama".  Problem is, I couldn't think of much.  Don't get me wrong -- I love my country.  But most of the things I came up with were either just weak or they were things that had more to do with the fact that we were staying in a small town than with the fact that it was Panama (dirt roads, no fast food, etc.).

Our new openness to living in other parts of the world has changed my perspective on my country, and now I'm wondering, what is it that is unique about the United States that I like?  And this is a particularly good time to consider this when I'm so very concerned about the direction the country is taking.

And here's my answer:  the best thing about the United States is . . . that elusive quality that everyone refers to as "The American Spirit".  That term is difficult to define as it probably means subtly different things to different people, yet its essence is palpable here. 

As I sense it (and I have friends who will hate this) the American Spirit is inextricably connected to liberty and Christianity.  The settlers of this country learned to live in liberty.  They were under the rule of the King of England but to a great extent they were also under his radar for a good amount of time.  They learned to be independent -- to support themselves and to govern themselves. 

And . . . (and here's what some friends will hate), what made that liberty successful here was that it was anchored in Christian values and beliefs.  No, not every early American was a Christian -- and not everyone who claimed to be a Christian was a good Christian -- but the society as a whole was informed by Christian ethics.  There was an underlying sense that, above all, we are accountable to God, and this understanding tempered and guided and enabled our liberty.

That American Spirit that I love is actually akin to the much-quoted scripture, Philippians 4:13.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  That idea that anything is possible . . . that a poor man can become rich . . . that the son of an immigrant can become President . . . that a public school failure can become a future Einstein . . . that we are truly free to do whatever God has called us to do.  If the Son has set you free, then you will be free indeedJohn 8

We may end up living in another country someday.  But I will always love America.  The spirit of America.  God grant that we never give up that spirit to the lure of comfort and ease.

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